How much the internet has actually improved our lives is a debatable issue. It has surely provided us with a multitude of ways to waste time (which you’re certainly not doing right now, no, certainly not), and it facilitates the propagation of lies, rumors, urban myths, financial scams and lousy jokes like no other medium. One undeniable benefit of the internet, however, is quick and easy access to knitting book corrections.
There was a time when these lists of corrections were distributed via slips of paper inserted, by the publisher, into the front of second, third, and fourth printings. If you’d made the dreadful mistake of buying a first printing, you were stuck with all of the originally published mistakes. Today, all you need to do is type “corrections” and (insert book title here) into a search engine, and all of your knitting problems are solved.
I’ve been thinking about this lately because I’m currently working on the Slouchy Cardigan from Greetings from Knit Café, and the pattern has a few errors. Like many knitters, my first reaction is annoyance. Some of the errors seem obvious, and my gut response is to wonder how they got there in the first place.
But I know better than that. Like anyone who is putting out a book, knitting designers face deadlines, and the rush to meet them can cause even the most conscientious editor to overlook mistakes. On top of that, it is highly unusual for the designer to have knit every single size of that sweater pattern that you’re following. Some errors can be caught by an editor with a calculator, but most of them only get discovered when the yarn is on the needles——in other words, they get discovered by you.
If I were very ambitious (and very stupid) I would organize a Chicago Manual of Style for knitting patterns. The lack of generally-accepted standards for knitting symbols and terminology is part of the problem——skp and s1k1psso are the same thing, after all——but I have about as much time for that project as I do for knitting all five sizes of Avast.
So, until that glorious day, we have the internet. If only I could look up errata without getting distracted by You Tube . . .